Varathane vs Minwax: Which is the Best Choice?

Varathane Vs Minwax

In the world of wood finishing, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is determining which product is best for your project: Varathane or Minwax. It’s a tricky choice, as both products have their own individual characteristics, benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at lumber-refinishing giants Varathane and Minwax, and explore how their different features stack up. After going through all the ins and outs, you’ll be better informed to choose the Varathane vs Minwax solution that is the right fit for your project.

Understanding Varathane vs Minwax

When it comes to wood finishes, selecting the right product for the job is essential. Varathane and Minwax are two of the most popular products on the market today, and both offer unique advantages to the user. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at Varathane and Minwax to better understand their differences and similarities. We’ll explore each product in-depth, compare the two side-by-side, and provide some helpful tips for using each. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of varathane vs minwax and be better prepared to pick the right wood finish for your next project.

Exploring Varathane

Varathane is a popular brand of wood finish that has been around since 1920. It is a solvent-based, oil-modified urethane finish that can be used on both indoor and outdoor wood projects, as well as concrete. It is a durable finish that will protect wood surfaces from wear and tear, and the colors will not fade over time.

Varathane is available in a wide range of colors, from very light shades to extremely dark hues. It is easy to apply and can be used with an HVLP or airless sprayer, a roller, or hand-brushed. It offers a variety of finishes, including satin, semi-gloss, high-gloss, and even metallic. It is easy to clean up and can be re-coated in as little as two hours.

When applying Varathane, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. It typically requires a two-coat system, and the topcoat should be applied after the first coat has completely dried. It is important to sand between coats, to ensure a smooth finish. Additionally, Varathane should not be applied in temperatures below 50-degrees Fahrenheit, as the product may not adhere properly.

Overall, Varathane is an excellent choice for a durable wood finish. It is available in a wide range of colors and styles, is easy to apply, and will provide lasting protection for wood surfaces.

A Closer Look at Minwax

Minwax is one of the oldest and most trusted finishing products on the market. Established in 1904, Minwax has grown to become an industry leader in wood finishing products. Minwax offers a wide selection of interior and exterior finishing products, including varnishes, polyurethanes, and stains. In particular, Minwax polyurethanes are known for their durability, protection, and water resistance.

Minwax polyurethanes have a unique formulation that offers superior protection from scratches, scuffs, and dents. These polyurethanes can be applied over stained wood, painted wood, and unfinished wood. Additionally, Minwax polyurethanes provide a low-luster finish that resists yellowing, fading, and discoloring.

Minwax also offers a selection of wood stains, which can be used on both interior and exterior wood surfaces. These wood stains are easy to use, and they provide long-lasting, rich color. They can be used to highlight the grain of the wood, while also protecting and nourishing the wood.

The Minwax selection of varnishes is also worth mentioning. These varnishes provide a tough, durable finish that resists water, UV rays, and salt. Minwax varnishes also offer superior protection from scratches and scuffs, and can be applied over paint or stain.

Ultimately, Minwax offers a wide selection of products specifically designed to beautify and protect wood surfaces, while also being easy to apply. From polyurethanes and wood stains to varnishes and wood conditioners, Minwax has something for every project.

Comparing Varathane and Minwax

Varathane and Minwax are both popular choice for finishing projects. Both products are widely available and have a variety of colors, grains, and sheens. Understanding the differences between them can help you decide which is best for your project.

To compare Varathane and Minwax, it’s helpful to look at the key differences between them:

  • Finish: Varathane has a transparent finish that shows off the beauty of the wood, whereas Minwax has a colored finish that hides the wood grain.
  • Durability: Varathane is more durable and longer lasting than Minwax.
  • Application: Varathane is a water-based product, while Minwax is an oil-based product.
  • Clean-up: Varathane has a much easier clean-up than Minwax.

Varathane is a fast-drying water-based polyurethane formula that offers good protection and durability. Its finish is clear and will highlight the natural beauty of the wood. Minwax, on the other hand, is an oil-based polyurethane varnish with a colored finish. It offers less protection and durability than Varathane but is easy to use and is long-lasting.

Varathane is relatively easy to apply and dries quickly. It’s also easy to clean up since it’s water-based. Minwax is more challenging to apply but offers a deep and richer finish. It’s an oil-based product that requires mineral spirits to clean up.

In conclusion, Varathane and Minwax are both effective and popular choices for finishing projects. Depending on your needs, one may be better suited than the other. Consider the differences between Varathane and Minwax, such as finish, durability, application, and clean-up, to help you narrow down your decision.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Varathane and Minwax

When deciding between Varathane and Minwax, there are many advantages and disadvantages to take into account. Here is a brief overview of each.

Varathane Advantages

  • Varathane provides excellent protection from scratches and abrasion. It form a super strong bond with the surface of your projects, protecting them from the wear and tear of everyday life.
  • Varathane is a fast-drying product; once applied, it can take up to just 2 hours to be completely dry.
  • Finishing with Varathane is incredibly easy; it requires minimal preparation and it spreads and levels with just a few swipes of a brush.
  • Varathane is available in a wide variety of colors and sheens, making it ideal for almost any wood project.

Varathane Disadvantages

  • Varathane can take a long time to apply because it needs to be applied in thin, even coats in order to produce the best finish.
  • It produces a lot of fumes, so it is important to make sure that the work area is well ventilated.
  • Varathane can sometimes produce an uneven finish if not applied correctly.
  • Varathane finishes may need to be reapplied regularly, depending on the amount of wear and tear the project sees.

Minwax Advantages

  • Minwax is incredibly cheap and affordable, making it one of the best value products on the market.
  • It dries extremely quickly, so projects can be finished in no time.
  • Minwax is easy to apply; it spreads quickly and levels beautifully with a few strokes of a brush.
  • Minwax doesn’t produce very many fumes, so it can be used in enclosed spaces.

Minwax Disadvantages

  • Minwax doesn’t offer much protection from wear and tear; it isn’t as durable as Varathane.
  • Minwax finishes require a bit more preparation than Varathane finishes; brushing techniques are important to achieve the desired look.
  • Minwax is available in a limited range of colors and sheens, so it may not be suitable for all project types.
  • Minwax can sometimes produce a glossy finish, even if a matte or satin finish is desired.

Tips for Using Varathane and Minwax

Varathane and Minwax can both be used to add protection and beauty to projects. Here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of these products:

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using either product.
  • Ensure that the surface that you are applying it to is clean, dry and free of dust and debris.
  • If you are applying the product to wood surfaces, make sure that the wood is sanded and stained prior to use.
  • For best results, apply the product in thin coats and allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
  • Always use a high-quality brush or foam applicator to apply Varathane or Minwax.
  • If you want a glossy finish, use a brush-on polyurethane or polycrylic after your Varathane or Minwax layer, then buff to bring out a high shine.
  • Be sure to use a respirator when sanding, staining or spraying Varathane or Minwax products.
  • If possible, apply the product in a well ventilated area.
  • When applying Minwax, be sure to only store it in temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Follow these tips and your projects should turn out great! Both Varathane and Minwax are great options for adding protection and beauty to home furnishings, furniture and other wood surfaces. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’re sure to achieve the results you’re looking for.


Devin B

Hi everyone! My name is Devin and I'm the author of this website about tips for woodturning and wood finishing. I'm an avid woodworker and have been doing it for over a decade. I'm constantly learning new techniques and experimenting with new materials and finishes.

I started my journey in woodworking when I was a teenager, making furniture for my bedroom and small projects for my family. As I got older, my interest in woodturning and wood finishing grew. I took classes on the subject and read books on the topic.

I'm passionate about woodturning and wood finishing because it allows me to express my creativity in a tangible way. I love the satisfaction of seeing a piece of wood that I have transformed from a block of raw material into a beautiful finished product.

I hope you find the tips and advice on this website helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always happy to help out and share my experiences. Thanks for visiting my website!